Victoria Vox Joins the Staff!

9ca6618fb9f3930d-lookingatUKE-cropIt’s been a long time, too long, since the lovely and uber-talented Victoria Vox graced one of our events. I’ve missed her, as I’m sure many of you have, as well. But I didn’t realize how much until she sent in the descriptions of the workshops she’ll be teaching for us at the 2016 West Coast Ukulele Retreat, May 4 – 8.

Here are just a few of them:


There are many ticking parts in getting a song to work. Melodies, rhythms, chords, and lyrics. Where does the inspiration come from? Which chords will work? What notes will work? Not to mention the lyrics!  In this interactive 3-session workshop you can start from scratch or bring in a tune you are working on, or even one you’ve finished. We’ll take a look at what works or . . . what doesn’t! You’ll learn a few songwriting techniques to get you out of a rut or to perhaps inspire new ideas. There are no right or wrong answers in this one, just a safe place to unleash your creative muse. All skill levels welcome.

Introduction to Line Clichés:

A line cliché is a descending or ascending line that moves against a single stationary chord. Famous line cliché tunes include the James Bond theme song,  “Michelle” (McCartney/Lennon), “Blue Skies” (Irving Berlin), “One” (Harry Nilsson), and Victoria’s own “Mon Coeur Vide”. We’ll learn, among other things, how to alter the harmony of a song to incorporate the use of line clichés, in both major and minor keys. It’s a great way to embellish a chord (or simply understand those seemingly complicated chord progressions), it’s not as hard as it sounds, and it will add immeasurable fun to the music you play!

Introduction to Left Hand Movement (Chord Melody):

Learn an instrumental song in C (Ship Goes Down), with chords and melody, and the addition of passing notes using hammer-ons and pull-offs. Who’d a thunk a tune with just C, F, G, Am could sound so grand? Beginners are welcome to join this one and get a better grip on playing in general, while intermediate players will learn a lot of brand new techniques they can use elsewhere. Suitable for confident beginners to intermediate players.

Strumming and Rhythm Fun:

The “chunk” is a great rhythm technique to create a beat for yourself while you’re playing. In this workshop, Victoria will break down the “chunk” for you so that you can give yourself a “back-beat” on beats 2 and 4. It’s like being your own drummer. Also, you’ll learn how to get a little funky with simple strumming patterns, all based on Down Up Down Up Down Up etc.! Funk is all about the notes & chords you choose NOT to play and it offers great discipline. Suitable for determined beginners to advanced players.  (I just love the distinction between “confident” beginners and “determined” beginners.  What great attention to detail!)

And last, but certainly not least:

Intro to Mouth Trumpet:

This is classic Victoria Vox. And though there have been many imitators, none have lived up to the very high standard to this unique art form she has created.  So, if your hands are full with a guitar or ukulele (or even a keyboard) and you find yourself wishing you had a horn player, this class is for you. The Mouth Trumpet, also called a Mouth Horn or Lips-aphone, is an old jazz-era vocal technique first heard by the Mills Brothers. Today, it is used by beat-boxers and vocalists and, of course, Victoria Vox. And, it’s very similar to playing a real trumpet!  So come join us for more fun than you ever thought possible and learn some techniques to give your “horn” some edge! (All levels, all attendees.)

We may be bringing Victoria in to teach our Level 1 and Level 2 students, as well, depending on how the final schedule works out. Remember, we’ve got loads more to add!

In the meantime, we hope you’ll register for the retreat as soon as possible so you can take advantage of the reduced retreat registration fee (still just $619, or $949 with a companion) and secure one of the rooms in the coveted “Fireside” area.

And if you’re still wondering about Victoria Vox, get a load of this:

~ by UkuleleLady on February 12, 2016.

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